What is the European Court of Human Rights?

Published: 9 August 2016

Last updated: 9 August 2016

What countries does this apply to?

  • England
  • Scotland
  • Wales

European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights is the court of law of the Council of Europe. It is based in Strasbourg, France.

Set up in 1959, the Court ensures that Member States of the Council of Europe respect the rights and guarantees set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Court is made up of 47 elected judges, one from each Member State. It examines complaints (known as 'applications') alleging violations of human rights. These applications can be made by individuals, or sometimes by Member States.

When the Court finds that a Member State has violated one or more of the Convention’s rights and guarantees, it explains why in a written judgment. Judgments are binding; the countries concerned must comply with them.

Our involvement

We sometimes intervene in cases before the European Court of Human Rights as part of our enforcement role.

Cases we have intervened in so far cover issues such as housing, immigration, family law, employment issues and the right to a fair trial.

Page updates